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5 ways you’re killing your laptop’s battery without realizing it

Computers get faster and more advanced daily, but that doesn’t mean you should constantly upgrade. Here are essential laptop maintenance tips that’ll keep your rig running smoothly for a long time.

Batteries aren’t meant to last forever. The one in your laptop has a limited lifecycle, just like any other. You don’t want it dying when you’re in the middle of some big project, do you? 

Here are five ways you’re shortening your laptop’s battery life.

1. You wait too long to charge your laptop

If you frequently let your battery entirely run out of juice, it affects the charge-discharge cycle and diminishes its intended lifespan.

Your laptop battery can also lose efficiency in another way. Let’s say you regularly charge your laptop from 30% to 50%, or about 20% each time. Well, do that five times and you’ll have completed one battery cycle because you’ve charged your laptop 100% in total.

A good rule of thumb is to keep your battery charged to at least 40% most of the time. 

2. You charge your laptop too much

Do you keep your laptop plugged in all the time? Battery health can be affected when you leave your device at full charge for prolonged periods. Keeping your battery level close to the middle (40% to 80%) extends battery life.

The official word is to keep your laptop charged — but not fully charged. Also, get in the habit of unplugging your tech after it is fully charged.

RELATED: These laptops have an expiration date

3. You go with the cheapest charging option

If you lose your charger or a USB cable gets frayed, resist the temptation to buy the cheapest replacement. The few dollars you save on a low-cost substitute may negatively impact your device’s performance.

Cheap chargers and cable makers don’t want you to know that often their products do not have the proper voltage needed to work with your specific device. Why does that matter? Your battery may not get the juice it needs to charge fully. Worse, it may erode the battery’s life.

They can be dangerous to you, too. Many generic phone chargers are less likely to meet established safety and quality testing guidelines than their name-brand counterparts, leading to severe shocks and burns.

Spend a little more on getting a replacement charger and cable from the devices’ manufacturer or certified third-party makers.

RELATED: Are you buying the correct chargers and cables for your devices? Check this chart

4. Too hot or cold

Your battery is affected when exposed to extreme temperatures, which isn’t always caused by leaving the laptop in your trunk. Your battery can also get too hot from your CPU or graphics processor working overtime. Too much heat and your battery could be damaged and lose power, so avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures.

If you notice your laptop getting too hot, turn it off and let it rest. It will not only save your battery from damage, but it will also help preserve battery power.

You should also avoid exposing your laptop to frigid temperatures. It can cause your laptop battery to “freeze.” A frozen battery will lose power more quickly and struggle to hold a charge. Neither is ideal. And please don’t ever put your laptop in the fridge!

5. You download battery-draining apps

There’s nothing you can do about your battery wearing down eventually, but some things have more of an impact. If you have performance apps that monitor your battery life, they could harm it in the long run.

These apps constantly use power to monitor battery life. Get rid of them and use your laptop’s native battery monitoring tools (more on that below).

Spyware, adware and other malware are also taxing on phones. Most constantly run in the background. Here’s how to know if hackers are in your phone or computer.

Do this now: Analyze your laptop battery

Like your phone’s battery, the one in your laptop needs proper care to run at its best.

For PC, you have a couple of options to check your laptop battery. Let’s start with PowerShell:

  • Search for PowerShell in the lower left search box in Windows.
  • On the menu that opens, select Windows PowerShell (Admin). Make sure to choose the Admin option and select Yes when it asks if you want to allow this app to make changes to this device.
  • Once it’s open, copy the following command or type powercfg /batteryreport /output “C:\battery-report.html” and hit Enter.
  • You will see a message in PowerShell with the location the report was saved. In most cases, it will be the C drive.

To view the battery report:

  • Type Windows File Explorer into the search box in the bottom left of Windows to access the C drive.
  • You should see a file labeled battery-report.html. Double-click the file to open it in your browser.
  • The report outlines your laptop battery’s health, how well it has been doing and how much longer it might last.

If you have a Mac laptop, checking in with your battery is easier:

  • Hold the Option key and click on the Apple menu.
  • Click on System Information.
  • Scroll down to Hardware > Power > Cycle Count.
  • The closer you are to 1,000 cycles, the lower your battery performance.

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